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Credit: Feadship

Feadship announces landmark launch of fuel-cell powered 119m superyacht Project 821

4 May 2024 • Written by Katia Damborsky

Dutch shipyard Feadship has marked a milestone moment in the yachting industry with the launch of the first fuel-cell-powered superyacht. Known only as Project 821, the 118.8-metre RWD-designed superyacht was rolled out of the shed at Feadship’s van Lent facility today (4 May) and has now joined the market with Edmiston.

The breakthrough project will store liquid hydrogen on board (in temperatures below -253°C) and will use a fuel cell source to generate electricity for both hotel load and coastal navigations. The project required significant development in regulations for "hydrogen storage and fuel-cell systems at class, flag-state [and] IMO level", according to the yard.

"The aim has been to develop a new, clean technology not just for this project," said Jan-Bart Verkuyl, Feadship director and CEO at Royal Van Lent Shipyard, "but for the world."

As well as the yacht’s green credentials, she also marks the largest motor yacht ever launched in the Netherlands, eclipsing the recently-launched Launchpad with around "30 per cent more volume".

Project 821 will include amenities such as a semi-submerged Neptune lounge, cinema, library, hospital facility and 8.2-metre pool with contraflow. Light-enhancing features include an atrium with a staircase that wraps around the elevator and floor-to-ceiling windows with clear glass balustrades that offer unobstructed views.

The yacht borrows "Nikki Beach" style cues and has been designed to feel like a "secluded, four-level townhouse by the sea". Accommodation is for a total of 30 people thanks to 12 cabins – although this can be configured to account for smaller parties – and includes intimate spaces like a coffee corner and games niche.

Charlie Baker, director at RWD, said the British studio was "immensely proud to have been involved in such a forward-thinking project". "We hope it inspires other projects to think differently in the future," he added.

For the interior, the "coastal" ambience was created with textured fabrics and leathers, marble, rattan, fumed and taupe eucalyptus, and limed oak. For the exterior, RWD worked with Feadship to install more hull openings than the yard had ever attempted before – including fourteen balconies and seven unfolding platforms – and condense the yacht’s huge volume into a "sleek" package.

"From the beginning, one of the biggest hurdles would be developing a reasonable way to store compressed liquid hydrogen," explained a representative from Feadship. "Hydrogen is light. However, safely storing it on a vessel requires a double-walled cryogenic storage tank (a large very well-insulated cooling box in a dedicated room).

"Together, it takes eight to ten times more space to store hydrogen than the energy equivalent in diesel fuel."

Project 821 has a 92-square-metre storage space for hydrogen, and this space, plus the vent stacks for the escaping water vapour (the exhaust of this process), added four metres to the yacht's original specification length. However, in the future, this could be used for easier-to-store methanol, a liquid fuel in ambient conditions.

While Feadship noted that "even a yacht the size of Project 821 cannot carry enough liquid hydrogen to power a crossing," the yard could still minimise the yacht's hotel load emissions, which, according to the Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI), makes up around 70-78 per cent of a yacht's total energy use per year.

Jamie Edmiston, CEO at Edmiston called the project  "the best yacht ever built".  "The brief was to build the greenest and most environmentally advanced yacht ever built, without compromise. The yacht we see today, designed by RWD and built by Feadship, is without doubt the best yacht ever built. I am proud to have been involved since the inception of this idea", he said. 

In terms of power and propulsion, the yacht has two 900kW MTU generators, three 2,500kW MTU generators and 16 185kW PowerCell H2 generators. Key numbers for Project 821 include a 6,500 nautical mile range at 14 knots and a 19-metre beam.

Project 821 will be a valuable stepping stone towards Feadship's pledge to develop "net zero" yachts by 2030. Jan-Bart Verkuyl said that fuel cells will play an important role for yachts in the years to come. "We have now shown that cryogenic storage of liquified hydrogen in the interior of a superyacht is a viable solution. Future innovations on fuel cells and onboard reforming of methanol to hydrogen are on the near horizon."

More about this yacht

Feadship   118.8 m •  2024

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